Illustration of FibRe modification

Area 1 - Molecular modification

​RCA-Leader: Lars Wångberg

The Molecular modification area intends to evaluate modification routes to address the questions of 'how' and 'how little' do the lignocelluloses need to be modified to gain thermoplasticity?


(i) establish common methods to analyse the modified lignocellulose-based samples

(ii) understand and develop novel chemical reagents and synthesis routes (both substitution (chemical and enzymatic) and ring-opening reactions)

(iii) evaluate the effect of using starting materials (lignocellulosics) with various composition on the modifications of the materials

(iv) establish high throughput sequencing (HTS) methods for faster identification of best suited reaction conditions and materials that fulfils the technical requirements 

(v) consider scale-up aspects

Motivation and description of the activities 

Lignocellulose is not per se thermoplastic due to strong interactions within and between each polymeric component (for example in the fibre wall of a cellulose fibre). Modifications of the polymeric backbone, using classical chemical agents or enzymes, may enable thermoplasticity, but the conventional modification routes cannot meet the boundary conditions set. It is essential to minimize the degree of modifications, but at the same time yield thermoplastic materials. We hypothesize that it is not sufficient to modify the fibre surface, i.e. the chemical modification must be performed on the fibril and fibril aggregate surfaces, or of the polymers in-between these, inside the fibre wall, giving a heterogeneously modified lignocellulose. To significantly increase the confidence in the modification methods developed, it is important to determine HOW the structure of the starting material (e.g. fibre structure) and the composition of the lignocellulose (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) influences the efficiency of the modifications performed and consequently the thermoplastic properties achieved. The custom-made modified materials will constitute a library of renewable materials which, in combination with advanced analyses, will reveal new insights in how different chemistries and different degrees of substitution/ring-opening affect the properties of the modified lignocellulose.

P. Larsson, L. Wågberg,  “Towards natural-fibre-based thermoplastic films produced by conventional papermaking” Green Chemistry 2016, 18(11) 3324-3333


Page manager Published: Fri 23 Sep 2022.